GOOD but … DEVE-LOPERS … their appetite whet from 2012 to date … the fact we don’t have ‘the water’ is not apparent to this ‘lot’ …

WHERE do you figure the 725,000 GSC new homes forecast comes from? Who will they be for? This proposal from ‘the lot’ with an 85% defect build record … as much as 97% defective builds …

THE Solution for inadequate infrastructure, angry Constituents, the loss of local neighbourhood character, heritage, urban bushlands; and overdevelopment would be to disband the FIRB to stop the 100% sell-off overseas, and black money awash in our Real Estate … the high migrant and vibrant numbers would soon fall …

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SYDNEY COUNCILS push to protect suburbs from high-rise apartments

Megan Gorrey
By Megan Gorrey

September 15, 2019

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Sydney councils have seized on a shake-up of the planning system to fight back against high-rise development, as they attempt to prevent apartment blocks encroaching into established suburbs.

But developer groups are pushing for a more radical break with the status quo, urging councils to use a new planning policy to rethink the shape and form of development in their suburbs.

New plans being prepared for the first time by local councils will help shape Sydney's suburbs over the next two decades.
New plans being prepared for the first time by local councils will help shape Sydney’s suburbs over the next two decades. CREDIT:WOLTER PEETERS

For the first time, Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes is requiring each NSW council to prepare a local strategic planning statement that will guide development for the next two decades.

The plans must elaborate on the council’s “20-year vision for land use in the local area, the special character and values that are to be preserved and how change will be managed into the future”.

Those statements will inform the laws that govern the type of development allowed in particular areas, known as local environment plans or LEPs. They will also guide the provision of new homes to meet housing targets set by the state government.

About a dozen Sydney councils have released their draft documents for public exhibition before the October 1 deadline.

Many councils across Sydney want to preserve the character of their established suburbs.
Many councils across Sydney want to preserve the character of their established suburbs.CREDIT:JAMES ALCOCK

Mr Stokes said the councils’ plans would “reduce ad hoc decision-making” and help ensure that planning changes to Sydney’s suburbs were “foreseen, predictable and supported”.

However, the chief executive of developer lobby group Urban Taskforce, Chris Johnson, said he was “a bit worried about the [statements] because they set the tone for the LEPs“.

“Even though some of the statements are relatively general, they can be used to legitimise that next stage,” Mr Johnson said.

The plans have revealed some common ambitions across councils. These include the retention of pockets of green space, infrastructure that keeps pace with population growth, homes that are close to public transport, and preservation of the “local character” of suburban areas.

The City of Canada Bay Council said residents want low density areas to remain “substantially unchanged”, while development should be located near public transport hubs and reflect the character of the surrounding neighbourhood.

The City of Ryde said population growth had “put pressure on the unique local character of our buildings, heritage and natural areas”.

The Hills Shire council said the public was concerned about “our growth and changes to residents’ lives, the increasing difficulty in moving around and changing urban environments“, including built-up precincts around new train stations.

In the City of Sydney, residents wanted walkable neighbourhoods and infrastructure that matched the level of growth and development.

Mr Johnson was worried some of the statements would not allow for enough development to meet the Greater Sydney Commission’s forecast need for 725,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

That meant making the most of new transport hubs to build higher-density developments in those areas – a move that could mean fewer unit blocks in established suburbs, he said.

He said the City of Canada Bay’s draft statement, for instance, showed medium density terrace houses, rather than high-rises, around existing train stations and potential future metro train stops.

“You want to protect the suburban areas but make sure you get decent density and height in the town centre and near train stations. If you don’t do that, you’ll have to see changes in the suburbs.”

The executive director of the Property Council of Australia’s NSW branch, Jane Fitzgerald, said council planning strategies that “reflect the status quo” would not help meet housing needs.


Sydney population

As Sydney grows, the challenge of housing an extra 1.3 million people is upon us

Mr Stokes is pushing for councils to remake their LEPs more regularly, in an attempt to reduce reliance on the so-called spot rezoning processes used by developers or landowners to propose projects exceeding local planning rules.

He said a strategy-led system that “took the surprise out of planning that comes with ad-hoc decision-making”.

“We’re working with councils to ensure this strategic planning happens at a local level through their local strategic planning statements.”

Sydney councils are required to have their local strategic planning statement in place by April 2020.

Megan Gorrey
Megan Gorrey

Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.